With consumers becoming more environmentally conscious, large retailers like Wal-Mart and Target are now embracing “green” practices, following the lead of some food processors that have decided to conduct business under the National Organic Program standards.
By implementing “green” practices, these industries are striving to put environmentally responsible practices into place that don’t over-rely on chemicals.
Those in the pest management industry are applauding this trend toward more responsible chemical use. In fact, the industry trend over the last 20 to 25 years has moved toward practicing integrated pest management (IPM), which is at the heart of “green” practices.
IPM incorporates “green” practices by using non-chemical solutions to pest control as the first line of attack and only bringing in pesticides as a last resort. Therefore, pest management professionals prefer “green” customers because effective pest management using IPM isn’t obtainable unless the customer practices responsible sanitation, exclusion and physical and cultural pest control on a routine basis.
In the IPM arena, “green” means an environmentally responsible pest management approach that helps conserve resources, safeguard health and protect the environment.
This approach identifies pests to determine the correct control strategies, employs non-chemical prevention and control measures wherever possible, uses the least toxic pest management materials when application is necessary and provides good communication between the client and pest management professional.
In IPM, pesticides should not be used first, applied on a routine basis or used before a need is demonstrated through inspection and monitoring. Pests should only be controlled when:
- Their presence is unacceptable for health, safety and aesthetics reasons.
- They are present in intolerable numbers.
Examples of non-chemical strategies that should be used first include:
- Sanitation. Remove clutter and keep areas clean to remove harborage and food sources.
- Exclusion. Use tight-fitting door sweeps, keep window and door screens in good condition, screen vents and seal holes.
- Physical controls. Use traps and put susceptible food products in cool rooms that won’t promote pest infestations.
- Cultural controls. Use proper storage and stock rotation.
- Change employee practices. Have employees keep doors closed.
Then if inspection and monitoring demonstrates the need for pesticides, the least toxic material available should be used.
The “green” commitment
Since many clients are implementing “green” into their corporate policies, “green” pest management companies are also following suit. Their written program or policy should spell out their:
- Commitment to responsible environmental stewardship and IPM.
- Intention to rely on non-chemical strategies over chemical controls.
- Plan to apply pesticides only when inspection and monitoring show that they are necessary and only after non-chemical pest control measures have been used and found inadequate to do the job alone.
- Intention to rely on the least toxic materials available.
- Action plans for various insect, rodent and avian pests and situations.
- Plan for continuous evaluation and provision for continuing education with the customer.
If your corporate policy has turned “green,” contact Copesan or your local Copesan Service Center to implement an IPM strategy in accordance with this philosophy.